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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

JANUARY 2009 




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Bob Duncan 



January ushers in Governor 
Kaine's "Year of the Envi- 
w ronment," a time to re-focus 
attention and commitment to 
all that naturally sustains us. 
Accordingly state employees 
are recalibrating the way we do 
business and considering new 
ways to engage Virginians in 
environmental stewardship. 

We know that wildlife 
management involves both 
opportunities and costs. Our depart- 
ment seeks opportunities to restore and 
maintain healthy populations of animals 
that provide untold recreational benefits 
to people. Doing so takes money, of 
course, and as more conflicts arise be- 
tween people and animals spilling into 
each other's territory, those costs will in- 
crease. 

The governor's 2009 challenge pres- 
ents an opportune time to "tee up" our 
discussion about climate change. How 
we respond to it is of critical importance 
and being addressed by the state's 
brightest minds from varied disciplines, 
who sit on the Governor's Commission 
on Climate Change. We will periodically 
feature related stories and editorials over 
the coming months. 

We understand that warming tem- 
peratures, rising sea level, and the loss of 
flora will affect all wild animals and their 
habitats, especially those most vulnera- 
ble living in aquatic zones. The first and 
greatest losses will occur at either end of 
the elevation spectrum — within the in- 
undated wetlands of Virginia's coast and 
the stressed spruce and fir forests of the 
Allegheny Highlands. 

As we look down the road, then, it is 
with renewed appreciation for the gov- 
ernor's 400,000-acre land conservation 




goal. To Virginia's wildlife, an 
accommodating landscape 
will become more necessary 
than ever before. We've been 
covering stories about Vir- 
ginians taking measures to 
protect important wildlife 
travel corridors, forestland, 
edge habitats and riparian 
zones, and other land values 
they hold dear by using the 
tool of a conservation ease- 
ment. We will continue to do so. 

Internally, we've implemented new 
programs that respond directly to Vir- 
ginia's Energy Plan (www.governor.vir- 
ginia.gov / TempContent / 2007_VA_En- 
ergy_Plan-Full_Document.pdf): exam- 
ining ways to make our Richmond office 
complex more energy efficient; methodi- 
cally converting our fleet to more fuel ef- 
ficient vehicles; and encouraging car- 
pooling and smart driving practices 
among our employees. We've launched 
a fishing line recycling effort and placed 
collection canisters for recycling spent 
ammunition throughout our manage- 
ment areas. These actions big and small 
will reduce our collective drain on the 
natural resource base and, at the same 
time, save money. 

The natural challenges we face are 
great, but I remain optimistic that by 
bringing the best science to bear, we will 
prepare for the adaptations necessary. 
Our staff is accustomed to working in the 
realm of the physical world, where 
processes are dynamic and change is in- 
evitable. We will continue to marshal the 
best of our people resources and energies 
in order to advise you about the changes 
we witness in the field, and to galvanize 
your continued support for the fish and 
wildlife of Virginia. 



Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all speeies to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; 
To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the 
rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safely for persons and prop- 
erty in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of 
and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 

VOLUME 70 NUMBER 1 



Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 

L HUNTING & FISHING S^t 
ICENSEFEED 

Subsidized this publication 



Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 



Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
C. T. Hill, Midlothian 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Marc Puckett, Staff Contributor 



Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 



Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published month 
ly by the Virginia Department of Game and Inlani 
Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and addres 
changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 7477, Red OaV 
Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other communication 
concerning this publication to Virginia Wildlife, P. C 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond 
Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates are $12.95 fo 
one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 per each bac 
issue, subject to availability. Out-of-country rate i 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. fund: 
No refunds for amounts less than $5.00. To sub 
scribe, call toll-free (800) 710-9369. Postmastei 
Please send all address changes to Virginia Wildlift 
P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Postage fo 
periodicals paid at Richmond, Virginia and additior 
al entry offices. 

Copyright 2009 by the Virginia Department of Gam 
and Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sha 
afford to all persons an equal access to Departmei 
programs and facilities without regard to race, colo 
religion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If yo 
believe that vou have been discriminated against i 
any program, activity or facility, please write t< 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie: 
ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Street 
P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informatior 
al purposes only and every effort has been made t 
ensure its accuracy. The information contained herei 
does not serve as a legal representation of fish an 
wildlife laws or regulations. The Virginia Departmei 
of Game and Inland Fisheries does not assum 
responsibility for any change in dates, regulations, c 
information that may occur after publication." 



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About the 
cover: 

A large rodent, 
the muskrat 
(Ondatra zibethi- 
cus) flourishes in 
rivers across the 
state where 
floating plants, 
tubers, and small 
crustaceans are 
plentiful. 
Muskrats were 
trapped routine- 
ly into the 1 980s 
and harvested for their fur. See related 
story on page 14. ©F. Eugene Hester 



Magazine 
Subscriptions 

For subscriptions, 

circulation problems and 

address changes call 

1-800-710-9369 

12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 
36 issues for $29.95 




Engraving Their Niche 

by Clarke C. Jones 
Seeing is believing and appreciating it even 
more. 







Where Eagles Soar 

by Glenda C. Booth 
Join us on a journey through a Fairfax County 
oasis. 



Heyday Trapping Tales 

by Marc Puckett 
This story will make you nostalgic for simpler 
times. 



Be Wild! Live Wild! 
Grow Wild! 
by Spike Knuth 
Winter Nomads. 



The Path to Stewardship 

by Gail Brown 
Eureka Elementary School students blaze a 
new path. 



The Sporting Life of 
Carol Lueder 

by Beth Hester 
One entrepreneur proves that customer service 
has not disappeared. 



Journal 

A Duck Hunter's Journal 

Dining In 

Hearty Venison Pot Roast 
Photo Tips 

Fishing With Your Digital Camera 
Talking Stick 









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JKaster enaraoers 

across tne state toucn 

hoes far from nome. 

story by Clarke C. Jones 
photos by Dwight Dyke 

( ^T or the beginning artist, it 
^* would be like standing be- 
K^S side Norman Rockwell 
while he painted ... for a novice 
writer, like hovering over Heming- 
way's typewriter as words magically 
formed on a page. That is the closest I 
can describe the feeling I experienced 
while watching Lisa Tomlin engrave 
the hair on the back of an elephant — 
an elephant which serves as the focal 
point on the receiver of a shotgun. 
Her work is that detailed, that exact- 
ing. 



raoin 



Many high-end gun manufactur- 
ers, whose business it is "to know," 
consider Lisa Tomlin to be one of the 
top engravers in the world. You 
would think that someone with that 
much talent would be easy to find. 
She is not. You might say it was di- 
vine intervention that led me to her. 
Dr. Raymond Spence, an avid sports- 
man and former defensive end for 
the Louisiana State University Tigers, 
retired in 2007 after 45 years as the 
pastor of Second Baptist Church in 
Richmond, Virginia. In tribute to his 
years of service, he was given a retire- 
ment gift by his congregation: a spe- 
cial gift, a one-of-a-kind Parker 
Brothers shotgun engraved by Lisa 
Tomlin. Knowing how much I would 
appreciate such a work of art, he 
kindly invited me to see it. 

It is not often a man is given a gift 
which bestows on him such extreme 
emotions: pride in the fact that he 




VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



now possesses a true treasure, en- 
hanced by a true artist, and humility, 
kindled by the love and admiration 
of his congregation who presented 
him with such a thoughtful token of 
appreciation. 

Engraved on Dr. Spence's 20 
gauge Parker A-l Special shotgun 
were his two favorite bird dogs, his 
dead-rise fishing boat, and his 
church, along with the initials LSU on 
the trigger guard. Outside of his dear 
wife of nearly 50 years and his two 
sons, Lisa Tomlin had captured the 
very essence of the man and what he 
loves. One cannot help but marvel at 
the detail of Lisa's work on Dr. 
Spence's Parker. Lisa even added the 
shade from a standing oak tree as it 
cast its shadow on the right side of 
Second Baptist Church, as well as the 
links in the chain fence in front of the 
building. 




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Above: Lisa Tomlin transfers art to the metal 
to begin the engraving process. Her engravings 
capture the spirit of the hunter in a personal 
way. Bottom left: Art nouveau has been 
engraved on a Winchester Model 53 for a 
collector in Idaho. 



While admiring the engraving 
on Dr. Spence's gun, he informed me 
that Ms. Tomlin had also engraved 
guns presented to former President 
George H. W. Bush, General Norman 
Schwarzkopf, and General Chuck 
Yeager. My first thought was, "Who 
in a Richmond Baptist church knows 
world-class engravers, and in what 
city across the globe does she live?" 
Then Dr. Spence informed me that 
Lisa Tomlin hails from the small ham- 
let of Evington, Virginia, just south of 
Lynchburg. 

In the early 1980s, Ken Hurst, 
who at the time was a master en- 
graver for Colt, owned an engraving 
production company out of Concord, 
Virginia. Hurst's company not only 
engraved knives and guns, but also 
performed commemorative work for 
Quail Unlimited and Ducks Unlimit- 
ed, among others. Engraver Jack 
Jones, Jr. of Forest, Virginia, who 

JANUARY 2009 





Jack Jones, Jr. inspects a Colt Single Action .45 caliber revolver that he has engraved. 



worked for Hurst, stated, "The 
Lynchburg area, at that time, had 
more engravers per capita in the 
world, with the exception of Italy." 

Jack, who books his business 
mostly by word of mouth, has cus- 
tomers all over the world. He has just 
finished engraving a Scottish fami- 
ly's castle on a Ruger 30.06. When 
Ken Hurst closed his production fa- 
cility, a number of Virginia engravers 
such as Jones, Tomlin, George, and 
Davidson went out on their own. 

Tim George of Altavista, Vir- 
ginia, specializes in knife engraving 
and may complete only one gun a 
year. George feels that artwork on 
guns is usually limited to the tradi- 
tional. "With knives, I can do Deco or 
Nouveau styles. I have been able 
over the years to develop my own 
style of scroll work, and I am proud 
that my customers recognize it as 
being particular to me. Engraving 
guns, to me, is like writing a novel. 
Engraving knives is like writing po- 



etry." Tim must be quite a poet, be- 
cause there is often a two-year wait- 
ing period for his knife work. 

Tim who also teaches engraving, 
says his work does not seem to be af- 
fected by the economy. "It is one of 
the few things we are exporting. 
American engravers are known 
throughout the world." 

For those who would like to 
work at home, it may be the kind of 
profession one is looking for. "If you 
are artistic and can sit for 40 hours a 
week, you can be an engraver," said 
George. 

Jere Davidson, another engraver 
from the Lynchburg area, engraves 
for Dakota Arms and also, Connecti- 
cut Shotgun Mfg. His biggest fan, 
however, may be Edmund Davidson 
(no relation) of Goshen, Virginia, and 
one of the premier knife makers in 
the state. You can find Edmund's 
knife work and Jere's engraving in 
the book, The Art of the Integral Knife. 

"I have used Jere as my engraver 



for 18 consecutive years," said Ed- 
mund. "My knife work is just anoth- 
er form of art. It is 'art with an edge.' I 
have a number of collectors in Vir- 
ginia, but I ship knives all over the 
world. I chose Jere to do my engrav- 
ing because he is totally, and always, 
creative. To me, Jere's engraving 
'flows' and it works extremely well 
with my art. He has never done a 
knife for me that was the same pat- 
tern." 




VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



In the early 1990s, Lisa Tomlin 
was "discovered." 

Lisa's talent for drawing got no- 
ticed, and it was then recommended 
she put that talent to use as an en- 
graver. "I went to Ken and asked him 
for a job. He said he wasn't hiring 
anyone at that time, but he gave me a 
piece of paper the size of a quarter 
and asked me to draw an elk on that 
paper. After he saw my drawing, he 
hired me," Tomlin related. 

Working on a piece of steel or 
gold which will be part of a high-end 
product requires focus and great at- 
tention to detail. There is little room 
for error. 

"I learned using the hammer- 
and-chisel method, the way the Ital- 
ians engraved many centuries ago. 
With a hammer and chisel, the en- 
graver has to be very careful that the 
chisel does not slip. It is one of the 
hardest things an engraver has to 
learn when using that method. I bet I 
had to make one thousand commas be- 
fore Ken would let me work on a real 
engraving," Lisa emphasized. 

Tomlin is aware of the newer 
tools used for engraving and ex- 
plained, "Some engravers today use 
an air tool called a Graver Max and I 
may use it on rare occasions for a 
background, but I still prefer the 
hammer-and-chisel method. It just 
works better for me, and I believe it 
makes my work more personable." 
Lisa also makes her own engraving 
tools. 

It was around this time that John 
Bolliger, well-known custom gun 
maker and founder of Mountain Ri- 
flery was looking for someone to do a 




Tim George sets up to engrave a Warren Osborne knife. He will engrave the bolsters, part 
of the knife handle on both sides of the jade, shown below. 



special project — the annual auction 
gun for Safari Club International. A 
bull elephant was to be engraved on a 
bolt action rifle as the last animal en- 
graved in a collection of guns titled, 
the "Most Dangerous Game Series." 
At auction, the gun brought $165,000. 
Bolliger described the impor- 
tance of an engraver this way: "Al- 
though our guns are artwork, they 
are designed to be used. Some will 
hunt with them. Some want them as a 



display. Our market is the top two to 
three percent of those individuals 
buying guns. We just supplied a gun 
to the King of Spain. That is why the 
skill of an engraver is so important. I 
have built guns whose value was di- 
minished by a poor engraver and 
whose value was enhanced by a 
skilled engraver." Bolliger's compa- 
ny at this writing, holds the world 
record for the most money paid for 
an American-made rifle. 




JANUARY 2009 




Here (and shown below) Jere Davidson engraves a red stag on a Dakota Arms Model 76 rifle. 



Another custom gun manufac- 
turer, the John Rigby Company from 
California, was commissioned to 
build a gun which would be a gift to 
former President George Bush. Lisa 
Tomlin was hired to engrave that 
gun. Geoff Miller, managing director 
at the company, feels that an en- 
graver must be able to do at least four 
things well. "Their artwork must fit 
exactly and correctly on the piece that 
is to be engraved. They must be ex- 
cellent at producing a believable 
game scene. They must be able to do 
scroll work. And finally, they must be 
able to do the lettering. Lisa can do all 
four, and do all four extremely well. I 
think if Lisa is not the top engraver in 
the world at this moment, she is defi- 
nitely in the topi three." 

Because of the time it takes to en- 
grave a shotgun well, Lisa can pro- 
duce maybe five guns a year, and be- 
cause of the demand for her work, 
the value of her engraving increases 
15-20% each year. As Miller put it, 
"Let's say she keeps engraving for 
another twenty years. That is only 
one hundred guns. Her work, to the 
collector of fine guns, will be as fa- 
mous as a Picasso." 



The engraving that these indi- 
viduals do is truly art. It should not 
be confused with what we call en- 
graving when we go to the local mall 
to have our initials scratched into a 
Jefferson Cup. Nor is it a mass-pro- 
duced, computer engraved plate 
which is added to a mass-produced 
gun or knife you find at your local 
sporting goods store. No, this is an 




original. It may take weeks or 
months to complete. And just like 
any fine art, it builds its own cadre of 
worldwide collectors who are will- 
ing to wait years just to have a mas- 
terpiece created by these select en- 
gravers. It is hard sometimes to com- 
prehend, while watching these artists 
sitting hunched over a table wearing 
huge Opti- Visor goggle-like glasses, 
that they delicately hammer and 
chisel something as fine as the hair of 
an elephant on metal no larger than a 
fifty-cent piece. 

Lisa Tomlin probably speaks for 
all engravers across the state when 
she said, "I believe my engraving 
ability is God-given. I am passionate 
about the detail of my engraving and 
the accuracy of the animals in the en- 
graving." Maybe that is what people 
see in their art. Maybe that is why 
presidents and kings wait patiently 
for their work. There is nothing like 
having a God-given gift and being 
passionate about it! D 



Clarke C. Jones spends his spare time with liis black 
Labrador retriever, Luke, hunting up good stories. 
You can visit Clarke and Luke on their Web site at 
www.clarkecjones.com. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



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Bald eagles find safe haven at Mason Neck, 
just beyond the nation's capital. 



by GlendaC. Booth 

rhe 50 bald eagles that win- 
ter on Fairfax County's 
Mason Neck peninsula 
and the six that nest there from Janu- 
ary to June do not know if they are in 
a state park, a federal refuge, or on 
private property. And they're not 
bothered that the bureaucracy 
"delisted" them last year. 

They forage, perch, roost and 
nest in this rare natural jewel in the 
"backyard" of the rapidly urbanizing 
Fairfax County, population one mil- 
lion. They seem unfazed by the ca- 
cophony of five million people com- 
ing and going in a metropolitan area 
18 miles south of the nation's capital. 

At the bottom of this boot- 
shaped, 9,000-acre chunk of land jut- 



ting out into the Potomac River are 
the adjoining Mason Neck State Park 
and the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge. 
Manager Jeff Lowry calls it a "small 
park," at 1,824 acres. The refuge next 
door, at 2,277 acres, is part of the Po- 
tomac River National Wildlife 
Refuge complex. In a county reach- 
ing build-out, undeveloped areas of 
any size are precious crucibles of life 
among the inexorable spread of "Mc- 
Mansions," big box stores, strip 
malls, highways, and parking lots. 

"There are places on the Neck 
where it seems like one is in a remote 
wilderness, alone with the soothing 
sounds of nature," said Gary Kni- 
pling, an area resident. "Only a dis- 
tant commuter train whistle or a sky- 
ward vapor trail remind you how 
close to suburbia one is." 



History Trumps Development 

Archaeologists have documented 
Early-Middle Woodland through Late 
Woodland period habitations on 
Mason Neck — people who used pits 
and platform hearths. The first record- 
ed history tells us that Captain John 
Smith, English explorer, sailed up the 
Patawomeck River in 1608 and met the 
Moyumpse tribe (later called the 
Dogue). These native Americans said 
Smith came on a "winged canoe," 
when he visited their encampment 
called "Tauxenent." In 1755, namesake 
George Mason, IV, author of the Vir- 
ginia Declaration of Riglits, built his 
Georgian plantation home on the 
Neck. 

The area was logged and farmed in 
the 1800s and 1900s. In the 1960s, as de- 
velopment exploded and two bald 
eagle nests were spotted, locals mobi- 
lized. Over the years, people have 
killed many schemes targeted at 
Mason Neck, including a 20,000-per- 
son satellite city, a deep-sea port, an 
outer beltway a museum, an aerosol 
spraying tower, a landfill, an airport, a 
resort island, a gas pipeline, and a 
sewer line. 




VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Acres of wetlands brush up against fruit-bearing hardwoods, offering much needed habitat to a range of species. 



The park and refuge are man- 
aged for passive recreation and edu- 
cation. The refuge was the first refuge 
in the nation created to protect the 
bald eagle, which was listed as feder- 
ally endangered from 1978 until 1995, 
when the designation was lowered to 
"threatened," and then in August 
2007, "delisted" under the Endan- 
gered Species Act. 

TheRark 

Begun in 1967, Mason Neck State 
Park features hardwood forests of 
oaks, beeches, hollies, and hickories. 
Five miles of gentle, self-guided trails 
meander through woods and along 
the edges of wetlands. Wilson's 
Spring Trail leads to a blind for view- 
ing waterfowl and beavers. The 
Eagle Spur trail ends at the fingers of 
the Kane's Creek blind, a popular 
feeding site for ospreys and great 
blue herons. 

Up to 200 species of birds have 
been spotted. Many of the park's ani- 
mals are nocturnal. Interpretive pro- 



grams with titles like "Rambling 
Reptiles," "Eat or Be Eaten" (about 
the food web), and "Insect Intrigue" 
educate both young and old. The vis- 
itors' center has informative displays, 
hand-on activities, and a resource li- 
brary. A Junior Rangers program for 
children ages 6 to 11 promotes con- 
servation ethics. 

In the spring, summer, and fall, 
the park rents bicycles, canoes, 
kayaks, and one picnic shelter. 
There's a cartop boat launch, and 
fishing from the shoreline or by canoe 
is available. A winter walk can feel 
like a meditation in "nature's cathe- 
dral," with the quiet disturbed only 
by the soft crackle of lingering beech 
leaves or the flutter of a mourning 
dove. 

What are the park's challenges? 
"Our goal is conservation. We want 
to provide habitat for the bald eagle," 
said Lowry. "The challenge is to con- * 
vince people who come here of that o 
goal and to develop interpretive pro- :§> 
grams consistent with conservation." g 




JANUARY 2009 




He cites the special challenge of 
"presenting the conservation mes- 
sage" to people of varied ethnic back- 
grounds (approximately 150 lan- 
guages are spoken in Fairfax County, 
according to school officials). "My 
goal is to get people to think that all of 
this is theirs. It would make it an easi- 
er job if everyone wanted to protect 
it," Lowry continued. 

The Refuge 

Abutting the park is the Elizabeth 
Hartwell Mason Neck National 
Wildlife Refuge, named for the 
"eagle lady." Hartwell, who died in 
2000, led the charge to preserve 
Mason Neck and earned this 
moniker when she was greeted by 
developers flapping their arms like 
eagles at a public hearing. 



The refuge has 4.4 miles of shore- 
line, a mature oak-hickory forest, and 
one of the largest freshwater wet- 
lands in northern Virginia: the 285- 
acre Great Marsh. 

The largest great blue heron 
rookery in the mid-Atlantic, with al- 
most 1,600 nests during 2007, is here. 
Surveys have documented over 200 
species of birds, 31 species of mam- 
mals, and 44 species of reptiles and 
amphibians on the refuge. 

Visitors can hike several woodsy 
trails, including two that offer views 
of waterfowl in Great Marsh. 

Managers are preparing a com- 
prehensive conservation plan and 
see few controversies surfacing. 
"Delisting of the bald eagle did not 
change our management, because 
the refuge was established for eagles 




and we try to protect them from dis- 
turbances," said Greg Weiler, Refuge 
Manager. 

Controlling invasive plants like 
Japanese stiltgrass and managing the 
1,900 acres of forest to generate a 
"pipeline" of trees are ongoing chal- 
lenges. River traffic, like JetSkis®, 
may contribute to shoreline erosion. 
Demands never abate. "The public 
always wants more," said Weiler, 
who has a staff of six to provide edu- 
cational and interpretive activities. 
The refuge lost its biologist position, 
he laments. 

DGIF's Birding and Wildlife Trail 
splices through Mason Neck. "Places 
like Mason Neck State Park and 
Refuge provide opportunities close to 
large urban and suburban centers for 
people to experience wild places. One 
part of the Virginia Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries' mission 
is to provide opportunities for people 
to enjoy wildlife-related recreation. 
The Birding and Wildlife Trail pro- 
vides over 650 such opportunities," 
said Jeffrey Trollinger, DGIF's Watch- 
able Wildlife Program manager. 

The National Park Service's new 
Captain John Smith National His- 
toric Trail also skirts along the penin- 
sula. 

A managed deer hunt, run jointly 
by the park and refuge, is held annu- 
ally in late November or early De- 
cember, because in 1994 managers re- 
alized that the deer were in poor 
health and eating everything within 
reach. In 2007, for 90 hunters the take 
was 111 deer. 

Critical Eagle Habitat 

When European settlers arrived in 
America, there were half a million 
bald eagles. In 1963, their numbers 
had plummeted to 417 breeding 
pairs in the lower 48 states. In 2007, 
that number had rebounded to over 
9,000 breeding pairs. In Virginia, the 
number of breeding pairs has 
jumped from 50 to over 550 in 25 
years. 

Biologists say the resurgence of 
the bald eagle is one of the world's 
greatest conservation success stories, 
but available habitat is key to their 
survival. "Virginia's bald eagle pop- 
ulation depends upon a very limited 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



For More Information 



On the 8,800-acre Mason Neck peninsula, 6,600 acres are 
managed cooperatively by five regional, state, and federal 
agencies. 

7301 High Point Road 

Lorton, Virginia 22079-401 

703-339-2385 or 703-339-2380 (visitor center) 

www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/mas.shtml 



www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt 



Gunston Ha 



1 0709 Gunston Road 
Lorton, Virginia 22079 
703-550-9220 
www.gunstonhall.org 





High Point Roac 
Lorton, Virginia 22079 
703-490-4979 



LeTuge 



•onal Wildlife Refuge Complex 



has two other refuges, 

Occoquan Bay 

http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=51 61 1 

and Featherstone 

www.fws.gov/refuges/profi les/index.cfm?id=51 61 2 



amount of suitable habitat, found 
mainly along our tidal rivers in the 
Chesapeake Bay region," wrote Ed- 
ward Clark, President of the Wildlife 
Center of Virginia, last July. "There is 
strong evidence that the available 
bald eagle habitat is approaching car- 
rying capacity. In other words, it's fill- 
ing up. At some point . . . there simply 
will be no room for more eagles to 
nest in Virginia. If the habitat shrinks, 
the bald eagle population will decline 
as well." 

Mason Neck's mix of forest, field, 
wetland, and shoreline provide a rich 
biodiversity of habitat, rare in north- 
ern Virginia. The peninsula's protect- 
ed lands are a shining example of citi- 
zen-driven conservation that pro- 
vides a proud and almost pristine 
home for our nation's symbol in an 
increasingly crowded world. □ 

Glenda Booth, a freelance writer and legislative 
consultant, grew up in Southwest Virginia and has 
lived in Northern Virginia for 39 years. She is ac- 
tive in many conservation efforts, including serv- 
ing as Virginia Outreach Coordinator for the Na- 
tional Audubon Society and president of the 
Friends of Dyke Marsh. 



1 0406 Gunston Roa 

Lorton, Virginia 22079 

703-399-8009 

www.blm.gov (search on Meadowo* 



sadowood) 



Caotain lohn Smith 



Chesapeake Bay Program, National Park Service 

41 Severn Avenue, Suite 1 09 

Annapolis, Maryland 2 1403 

410-267-5720 

www.nps.gov/cajo 




6501 Pohick Bay Dri\ 
Lorton, Virginia 22079 
703-339-61 04 (camp center) 
www.nvrpa.org/parks/pohickbay/index.php 




14344 Jefferson Davis Highway 
Woodbridge, Virginia 22 191 
703-636-4115 
www.foprr.org 



afiSS* 



JANUARY 2009 



13 







Raccoons, along with other wild animals such as fox, otter, muskrat 
and mink, have long been sought after by trappers and hunters. 
Native Americans and European settlers early on recognized raccoons 
as an excellent source of food and clothing. 



4 



Young friends made 
a lifetime of memories 
learning how to trap. 



9 % 



MM 

I 







byMarcPuckett 

I have not fur trapped in many years. Growing 
older brings new responsibilities and interests, 
and what once was a passion can become a 
thing of the past. But now and then something hap- 
pens to blow the dust off old memories. In a work- 
shop I attended a while back, called "Trapping 
Matters," I learned plenty but also experienced a 
cascade of memories. 

We've heard our parents talk all our lives about 
the "good old days." It always left me feeling cheat- 
ed, like I'd somehow been born too late. "Wish you 
could have been there, boy, the sky was black with 
ducks." Truthfully speaking, my dad and I enjoyed 
countless days afield and I don't remember a short- 
age of game. However, I do not recall feeling like I 
was part of the "heydays" of anything, either. 

My good friends and I trapped through the late 
seventies and early eighties. We walked trap lines 
close to home at first, but as soon as we could drive 
or finagle a ride, we were off to bigger water. We ac- 
tually took French classes in high school because 
we dreamed of becoming professional Canadian 
fur trappers. Just thinking about this brings r)ack 






14 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




©F. Eugene Hester 




Though fur prices are not as high as they were 30 
years ago, trapping is still a good way to earn a 
little extra money. More importantly it's a great 
way to get exercise while spending time learning 
more about nature. 



some of those old emotions. You know the way 
it felt back when anything seemed possible and 
worries were few. Don't you remember the flick- 
er of electricity that would run through you 
while sitting and thinking about these things? 
The French lessons did not go so well, but the 
trapping did. 

We usually ran lines in pairs. Mostly be- 
cause we were friends and did nearly every- 
thing together, but also for safety, because the 
New in winter ran fast and cold and of course 
that is the only way our moms would let us go. 
My good friend Andy and I ran a driving line 
that extended on both sides of the New River 
from just above the Celanese factory near Bluff 
City all the way to the power plant in Glen 
Lyn — round trip, 40 miles a day — every day all 
winter. Lots of gas, yes, but the fur-price-to-gas 
ratio was much more in our favor then. We 
trapped every speck of water we could legally 
get on. Near all the public access points, along 
road right-of-ways, and anywhere a sympathet- 
ic landowner would give us permission. The 
competition was stiff and we constantly scouted 
for new places. During peaks we'd have over 



JANUARY 2009 



100 traps set, mostly Conibears for 
muskrats. 

The whole thing was grand; epic 
even, in our eyes. Just getting ready 
to trap each winter was so much fun. 
I recall every year we'd get together 
and make our supply lists and send 
our lure, trap, dye and tag orders to 
places like the Hawbaker's Trapping 
Supply Company, or Cronk's Out- 
door Supplies. The next best thing to 
checking traps was waiting for the 
postal truck to arrive with our order. 
Our moms cringed, but grudgingly 
allowed us to boil traps in an old bean 
pot in the kitchen. 

We all subscribed to Fur-Fish- 
Game. Every issue had a hand-paint- 
ed print for a cover, depicting various 
aspects of outdoor living. It was the 
only magazine that actually had a 
trapping section, with updates on fur 
prices and the best "how-to" articles. 
We were self-taught trappers and 
most of us learned how from that 
simple black and white publication. 
The magazine, along with a cloth- 
bound copy of S. Stanley Hawbak- 



er's Trapping North American Furbear- 
ers, set us free. 

Rain or shine, ice or wind, we ran 
traps after school each day and 
skinned fur until 8 or 9 o'clock at 
night. After which homework still 
waited. We took so much pride in our 
furs, painfully peeling the hides, 
fleshing them, then stretching them, 
first fur side out so that we could ac- 
tually take a brush through the hair. 
The basement of my house served as 
the fur shed. We placed tacks in the 
joists for hanging stretchers, and by 
winter's end, half the ceiling was ob- 
scured by hides. 

Then the big day arrived. The 
time came to sell our hard earned 
take. I can close my eyes and still see 
those stacks of furs, mostly muskrats, 
but every year a few mink, a few rac- 
coon, and the bragging prize of a fox 
or two. More than that, I can remem- 
ber how the furs sounded. They 
made a crackling noise when they'd 
been properly handled. 

We took our furs to Terry 
Bry son's Store in Draper. The store 



was not much to look at, but Terry 
liked us and was fair to us, even 
though we were kids, and he always 
had a good joke to tell and a grin on 
his face. He would take each fur and 
give it a tug and then blow on it to see 
how it lay. Then he'd grade it. "Num- 
ber 1, prime; number 2, fair; number 
1, extra prime," would ring through 
his shop. His wife would write down 
the price on each and at the end he'd 
give us a grand total. Now and then 
we'd argue with him a little over a 
fur, and sometimes he'd actually 
change a grade for us. My best take 
was over 70 muskrats, along with 2 
minks, 2 foxes, and 3 raccoons. As I 
recall, the year was 1980 and I made 
close to $800 — paid in cash. 

What I did not know then was 
that I was part of trapping's "good 
old days." Each participant in the 
workshop that day received a packet 
of information, part of which con- 
tained a historical record of Virginia's 
fur harvest. The data spanned from 
1964 until 2004 and included num- 
bers on peak fur prices. The best 






5 ^ m 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



years for trapping in Virginia were 
1979, 1980, and 1981. During the 
1980-81 season, 432,960 furs were 
sold in the Commonwealth with an 
estimated present-day value of 
$10,599,714. These years were Vir- 
ginia's heyday peaks in trapping. 

I have a daughter now. I don't 
know if she'll ever trap, but I plan to 
impart to her a love of the outdoors. 
I'll teach her that trapping, hunting, 
and fishing bring us closer to the land 
than anything else we can do. I'll 
teach her that food does not come 
from a box or milk from a jug. I hope 
she'll see the seriousness, but also the 
necessity, of death and understand 
the full circle of life. And she'll learn 
responsibility, just like we did, as no 
one made us check those traps. We 
did it because we knew it was right. 
Nobody forced us to take pride in 
those furs; we just did it because 
that's how we were raised. And no 
one was watching us while we were 
in those woods on an evening when 
we were so tempted to shoot a doe 
out of season, but did not. 




Outwitting an elusive muskrat may seem like a waste of time to most people, but 
for those who have walked a trapline on a cold winter day along the New River or 
shared in a tale or two of living off the land, the memories that the experience 
brings last a lifetime. 




It is hard to learn those kinds of 
lessons on a computer: The results of 
actions are not so serious. Somehow 
when a young person holds a squir- 
rel, or a dove, or a muskrat in hand, 
they begin to see how their actions 
have consequences, and though en- 
joyable, the actions are not to be taken 
lightly. 

Someday maybe I'll have a 
grandkid sitting on my lap and I'll be 
able to reminisce, "You should have 
seen that river, so cold that ice packs 
drifted into shore at night, and run- 
ning fast, but still clear enough to see 
a muskrat tunnel. And Andy and I 
would be out there so long our hands 
would be like hunks of freezer meat, 
but we'd be catching muskrats and 
making money and answering to no 
one but the weather. And sometimes 
close to dark the winter air would 
press down so hard it caught the 
sound close to the ground and we 
could hear far off down the river the 
Norfolk & Western diesel train leav- 



ing the Glen Lyn coal depot. That 
sound always made it seem warmer 
than it was. I wish you could have 
been there with us. We'd come to that 
last trap with barely enough light to 
see our way down the river bank; 
we'd have to be so careful as that 
bank was slick with ice, and one mis- 
step could have sent us down that 
river for good. Then we'd claw our 
way back up, often holding a 
muskrat in one hand, and get that 
truck moving hard and get that 
heater rolling steam. We'd grab a pop 
and some nabs on the way back and 
talk about the events of the day. That 
heater would make our frozen faces 
thaw so fast they'd glow red in the 
dash lights. And we'd laugh like the 
carefree kids we were. It was some- 
thing. It was the good old days." □ 

Marc Puckett is the Small Game Project 
Lender with the Wildlife Division of the 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries. 



JANUARY 2009 



17 




Winter I s 



story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

Every few winter seasons, an 
invasion of birds from the 
Boreal forests of Canada 
takes place. These invasions, or "ir- 
ruptions," are irregular migratory 
movements of birds seeking food. 
Most of these birds are seed-eating 
songbirds but a few are predatory 
species. Irruptions are not fully un- 
derstood, but are believed to be 
caused by a scarcity of winter food of- 
ferings over wide areas of the north- 
ern forests. These migrations occur 
mainly in late autumn or early winter 
and can be very spectacular: Large 
numbers of birds suddenly appear in 
areas where they are not normally 
seen. 

One or more species of seed-eat- 
ing finches will move south, often in 
large flocks. Those most apt to be 



Evening Grosbeak 



seen in Virginia include pine siskins, 
red crossbills, white-winged cross- 
bills, evening grosbeaks, and com- 
mon redpolls. The red-breasted 
nuthatch, while a common winter 
resident here, may show up in much 
larger numbers during an irruption. 

These species rely heavily on the 
seeds of conifers like spruce, hem- 
lock, pines, and tamaracks, as well as 
hardwoods like alder, birch, ash, and 
box elder, and the fruits of sumac and 
hawthorns. Ornithologists believe 
these irruptions occur due to the fail- 
ure of seed-bearing trees, forcing the 
birds to wander southward in search 
of food. It is believed that this occurs 
because, in years of good seed pro- 
duction, these seed-eating birds 
thrive and their populations grow. 
However, if a year or two of plenty is 
followed by a seed crop failure or 
scarcity, the birds are faced with food 
shortages, forcing them to migrate. A 
species may show up in large num- 
bers in one area for a short time or 
may stay around for a good part of 
winter if food is readily available. 
Then it will disappear, unlikely or 
never to be seen again in that area. 

A number of predatory species 




Pine Siskin 



may also wander southward in win- 
ter, including northern goshawks, 
snowy owls, and rough-legged 
hawks. These predators feed on 
small mammals that go through 
cyclical fluctuations in their popula- 
tions. Studies reveal that small tun- 
dra and grassland rodents go 
through 4-year population cycles, 
while snowshoe hares go through 10- 
year cycles linked to the interaction 
between predation and food supply. 
When population crashes occur, 
many avian predators are forced out, 
to more southerly climes. Very likely 
the raptors, like the seed-eating 
finches, flourish during population 
explosions, but when the crash 
comes they also have to seek a new 
food supply. 

Other birds that are occasionally 
found in the northern or mountain- 
ous regions of Virginia during winter 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



\ 






Dmads 

I! Grow Wild! 





V 



\ 



may increase in numbers during ir- 
ruptions. Rare sightings of northern 
shrikes, northern goshawks, and 
rough-legged hawks occur. 

Evening Grosbeak 

(Coccothraustesvcspertinus) 

Theyevening grosbeak sfands out be- 
cause of its distinctive deep yellows, 
rich brawns, black wings and tail, 
large white wing patches, black cap, 
yellow eye stripe, and ©rge pale bill. 
The female appears more grayish, 
overall, withplack wings and white 
patches and only a touch of yellow on 
its flanks. 

These gregarious birds are 7 to 
8 Yi inches long, and they commonly 
appear suddenly at backyard feed- 
ers — usually in large, active, noisy 
flocks — devouring sunflower seeds 
at prodigious rates. While feeding, 

JANUARY 2009 




Red Crossbill 



they constantly utter their "peer" call, 

or a double-noted chirping "clee-ip," 

j somewhat similar to the house spar- 

! row's call. If the feeder is kept stocked 

each day they'll keep coming back, 

*but when the food runs out, they 

leave as fast as they appeared. 

Their natural foods include tree 
buds, wild fruits, box elder and ash 
seeds, as well as a variety of conifer 
seeds. They also consume salt and are 
often drawn to salt treated highway 
edges in winter. Their irruptions 
sometimes carry flocks as far as the 
Gulf Coast. 

Pine Siskin 

(Carduelis pimis) 

While they are naturally found win- 
tering in Virginia, pine siskins show 
up in larger numbers during an ir- 
ruption. Some flocks may swell to 200 
birds. Often in the company of 
goldfinches, they will come readily to 
backyard tube-type feeders to feed 
on niger (thistle) seed. 

Measuring about 5 inches, both 
sexes are heavily streaked with 
brown and buffy white and with yel- 
low wing and tail markings. The 



le shows more 
yellow. The tail is 
deeply forked and the 
bill is conical, but sharper 
and narrower than other 
finches. The call of the pine siskin is 
often likened to that of a hoarse 
goldfinch — a penetrating "zee-e-e- 
em" note that rises in pitch and inten- 
sity at the end. 

Siskins are fond of alder, birch, 
and hemlock seeds, but will also go to 
fields and gardens to feed on the 
seeds of grasses, flowers, and shrubs. 

Red Crossbill 

(Loxiacurvirostra) 

At first glance it looks like the cross- 
bill's bill is deformed, because its 
mandibles are crossed. But, in fact, 
nature has designed it perfectly to 
feed as it does. It inserts its bill into 
the scale of a pine cone, then opens its 
bill to pry apart the scale, enabling its 
barbed tongue to pluck out the seed. 

The red crossbill has a variety of 
plumages, but usually exhibits a dull 
red with a brighter red rump patch 
and dusky wings and tail. The female 
is dull green or grayish-olive. This 

19 



bird breeds erratically at almost any- 
time of the year. About eight different 
types or sub-species have been iden- 
tified throughout the continent, 
which are of different sizes and range 
from six to eight inches. 

Seeds of spruce, pine, hemlock, 
and firs are favored. Red crossbills 
wander in flocks of about 10-30 
birds, feeding high in the tops of trees 
uttering their chattering "peeping" 
calls like chickens. Their flight call is a 
"kep-kep-kep." 

White-winged Crossbill 

(Loxia leucoptera) 

The white-winged crossbill is found 
farther north than most other north- 
ern breeding finches. It is 6 to 6 % 
inches long and is a much rosier red 
than the red crossbill. It has two 
prominent white wing bars on black 
or dusky wings. The female is olive- 
gray with a yellowish rump. 

White-wings favor the seeds of 
fir, spruce, and hemlock. They feed 
high in the trees often hanging up- 
side down and in all kinds of posi- 
tions at the ends of branches — much 
like parrots — as they feed. Their calls 
are soft and musical peeps or canary- 
like sounds. They generally do not 
mix with other species. 

Common Redpoll 

(Carduelis flmnmea) 

This hardy little bird is about 5 l A 
inches long with a small yellow bill. It 
is dusky brown overall with paler 
streaks, a distinctive red cap, two 
paler wing bars and a black chin and 




lite-winged Crossbill ,.t j tl 





Common Redpolls 



eye patch. The male's breast has a 
tinge of red. 

Redpolls travel in flocks of 
about 20 to 30, feeding high in 
the trees on birch, alder, tama- 
rack, and arbor vitae. They are 
very active and hang from 
branches parrot-like as they 
feed. Often they'll sudden- 
ly fly to the ground to pick 
up seeds that have fallen. 

Purple Finch 

(Carpodacus purpureus) 

Measuring 6 l A inches, 
the purple finch is similar 
to the now common house 
finch, except it is more pinkish- 
purple to deeper red than the house 
finch, with a whitish belly. The female is 
olive-gray above and white below, with 
heavy streaking. The tail is deeply 
forked and it has a thick, heavy bill. 

The purple finch is another bird that 
winters regularly in Virginia but ex- 
pands in numbers during irruptions. 



Purple Finch 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Red-breasted Nuthatch 

They fly in flocks of 12 to 40 birds and feed on various seeds 
and wild fruits. Their call is a sharp "pip" or "chip-chee" in 
flight. Their song is rapid and melodious. 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 

(Sitta canadensis) 

This little ball of energy measures only 4 Vi to 4 % inches. Its 
black and white striped facial pattern is distinctive, its 
breast and belly light reddish-brown. Its bill is straight, thin, 
and pointed. 

The red-breasted nuthatch is another bird found during 
winter in Virginia that increases in numbers when others 
are forced south during irruptions. It can move nimbly up 
and down free trunks head first or hang upside down as 
it feeds on seeds of conifers, sweet gum, and others. 
It will store seeds by pounding them into the 
crevices of tree bark. The call of the red-breast is 
a nasal "ahnk" or "auk-auk-auk," uttered ^ •< 

rapidly. It is quick, active, and bold, seem- 
ingly unafraid of humans. 

Snowy Owl 

(Bubo scandiacus) 

This "ghost owl" measures 20 to 27 
inches. It is basically all white but 
with dark dusky to black barring on 
its back, breast, and wings. Young birds are the 
most heavily marked and are often sooty- 
gray during their first year. Females are larg- 
er and more heavily marked than males. 

In flight they appear stocky and neck- 
less with a round head. They fly with an 
irregular wing beat that is quicker 
on the upbeat than on the down 
stroke, and interrupted by 
sailing. 

This owl is diurnal, ac- 
tive and feeding all day. ,/ 
It is a bird of the tun- ' / 



dra regions and other open landscapes. As it moves 

south it favors dunes of coastal beaches, lake shores, 

marshes, large farm fields, and grasslands. 

The snowy owl hunts from lookout perches such as 

posts, knolls, boulders, ice heaves, and old buildings. In 
Canada, snowshoe hares, ptarmigans, and lemmings 
form their primary diet, but during irruptions south, 
they feed on rabbits, voles, ducks, grebes, wounded 

game, and fish. □ 

Spike Knuth is an avid naturalist and wildlife artist. For over 30 years Ins art- 
work and writing have appeared in Virginia Wildlife. Spike is also a member 
of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a regular feature that 
highlights Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan, which is de- 
signed to unite natural resources agencies, sportsmen and 
women, conservationists and citizens in a common vision 
for the conservation of the Commonwealth's wildlife and 
habitats in which they live. To learn more or to become in- 
volved with this new program visit: bewildvirginia.org. 








Snowy Owl 



JANUARY 2009 



Virginia 

kK i \, Naturally 



r he Patto 




DGIF's Conservation Police Officer Daniel Ross and students examine mast. 



Students at Eureka 

Elementary discover 

that one path leads 

to another. 

stoiy and photos by Gail Brown 

rhe kids in Eureka Elementary 
School's Ecology Club weren't 
looking for hidden trails or 
buried treasures that Saturday morn- 
ing. It was a Christmas tree they 
wanted — a small one that the club 
could carry in the town parade, 
preferably one being crowded out by 
the dense overgrowth in the woods 
behind their school. What they found 
changed their mission, changed their 
club, and continues to change the 
way they do things at this Charlotte 
County school. But the story doesn't 
begin here; it started months earlier 



22 



when speech pathologist Liz Peaden 
noticed how excited the students 
were just to get outside and simply 
plant a tree. 

"The planting was part of our 
Jamestown celebration," said Pead- 
en. "I'd been thinking about how 
much the schoolyard needed to be re- 
vitalized, and after seeing how 
happy the kids were to be outside 
planting, I just got the idea to form an 
environmental club and give them 
more of that opportunity." That "eu- 
reka moment" led to a grant for 
$2,000 from the Virginia Environ- 
mental Endowment, the formation of 
Eureka's Ecology Club, and the dis- 
covery of a hidden nature trail, a lost 
exercise trail, and various discarded 
treasures from other lifetimes. 

"We started meeting in Novem- 
ber, 2007, and had just agreed on our 
first project — planting a garden — 
when the kids decided they wanted 
to look for their tree. That's when we 



found the trail. It was very over- 
grown, but you could definitely see 
part of a carved-out path leading into 
the woods." Over the past decade, 
nature's bullies like Gustav, Isabel, 
and Fran had made the woods their 
private playground, blocking en- 
trance to others and heaping trees 
into piles with the abandon of back- 
packs tossed carelessly in a school- 
yard. After promising to proceed 
with caution, the kids immediately 
leapt and scampered over a tangle of 
limbs and vines. Not deterred by 
what they faced, these fearless ad- 
venturers stood and declared the na- 
ture trail "their" project. 

In order to make the trail safe for 
deeper exploration, the ecology club 
turned to parent and community vol- 
unteers who generously donated 




Carefully releasing the quail is part of 
the project. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




equipment, gasoline, and numerous 
hours of hard labor to remove trees 
and identify and cut back potentially 
dangerous limbs. Each weekend, 
after clearing more of the trail, the 
kids continued to explore the tree 
line, soon finding three different en- 
trances and 25 markers identifying 
particular trees and plants. 

Throughout the year, following a 
hearty breakfast of pancakes and 
juice, Eureka's young environmen- 
talists planted trees, created gardens, 
picked up trash, and continued their 
work in the woods — always looking 
to nature for clues to help them locate 
missing parts of the trail or interest- 
ing things to study. Amber especially 
liked the mornings that included pre- 
sentations by volunteers such as 
Melissa Early, a recent college gradu- 
ate who spoke to the club about pre- 
serving the forest as a habitat for 
birds. Parent Larry Newcomb pre- 
sented a lesson about bobwhite quail 
and provided the eggs, incubators, 
and feed so club members could raise 
and release quail, an exceptional proj- 
ect even for a Virginia Naturally 
school. 

By the time the kids were ready 
to move on to middle school, the na- 
ture trail was fully uncovered and 
parts of a different trail, a long-lost ex- 
ercise trail, were rediscovered by the 
group! Newly unearthed dump sites 
gave up some secrets as well, offering 
up an icebox, some brown glass bot- 
tles, and an old tire which the kids 
rolled out of the woods to reuse as a 
protective bumper around their 
Jamestown dogwood. 

While the first ecology club was 
small, about 10 active members, this 
year's club has grown to over 30 stu- 
dents all eager to do their part to help 
the environment. Their enthusiasm 
has trickled down to their younger 




An artistic parent created signs for all entrances to the nature trail. 




Members of the Ecology Club work in teams to identify the trees along their 
nature trail. 



JANUARY 2009 



23 




Paying attention to detail, taking notes, and using field guides help to ensure 
accuracy. 



siblings, thanks in part to the dedica- 
tion of educators like first grade 
teacher Sandy Flynn. Flynn, not con- 
tent to let her students study outside 
only some of the time, has set up a 
campsite inside her classroom. There, 
students can snuggle around the 
campfire to do their work or earn 



reading privileges in the tent that 
beckons from across the room. 

Flynn, like Peaden, brings in ex- 
perts from the field, such as South- 
side Soil and Water Conservation 
District educator Julie Hamlett, to 
help teach lessons about environ- 
mental stewardship. If the squeals 




Forester Milter Adams encourages students to look carefully at different trees and 
plants to discover clues about the forest's history. 

24 





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Look what can happen to our rivers! 

and looks on the faces of the students 
are any indication, it could be said 
that Hamlett's lesson on water pollu- 
tion is especially exciting. Enthusi- 
asm exploded as students, playing 
the role of industry, homeowner, 
farmer, and picnicker, left their mark 
on the "river," leading Hannah to 
gasp: "I'm afraid of what it's going to 
look like!" 

Hamlett was also instrumental in 
helping Peaden successfully apply 
for a Virginia Environmental Endow- 
ment Grant. Funds from the grant 
helped the school purchase the trees, 
plants, and equipment needed by the 
ecology club to complete their many 
projects, which included creating a 
natural buffer to solve an erosion 
problem. "The grant made, and con- 
tinues to make, all the difference in 
our stewardship efforts," said Pead- 
en. 

Anne Payne, PTO president at 
the time the nature trail was created, 
recently walked the property with 
her sister in an effort to locate the ex- 
ercise trail. While remnants from a 
few fitness stations have been uncov- 
ered, nature is struggling to keep 
most of the trail a secret. "I'm so excit- 
ed to see the kids outdoors and learn- 
ing to appreciate these beautiful 
woods," said Payne. "Not every 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




A classroom "campsite" is an ideal place to share ideas about how we can help the 
environment. 



school has such an ideal site and we 
need to use it." Payne also noticed a 
persimmon tree and couldn't help 
commenting, "That fruit is bitter 
now, but after the first frost it will 
make a delicious jelly and pudding" 
— proving once again that although 
it's challenging to work outside, there 



are also great rewards in recognizing 
nature's bounty! 

Recently, Peaden was excited to 
notice area high schools using the 
trail for the Federation FFA forestry 
judging event, an event that included 
tree identification. What further ben- 
efits will emerge as a result of the stu- 



dents' efforts to promote this natural 
treasure have yet to be determined; 
all indicators, however, point to in- 
creased good for the greater commu- 
nity. 

If you ask the kids what they 
think about their new club and civic 
involvement, they will give you 
myriad reasons why so many are 
willing to sacrifice their Saturday 
mornings to hard work. Perhaps 
Chandler's words sum it up best: 
"The reason I liked helping out at the 
ecology club is because it feels good 
to make a difference at our school," 
which prompted William to add, 
"We also learned how to cook a few 
pancakes here and there." 

As all students have learned, no 
one knows where they will wind up 
when they start down a path they 
haven't walked before, but one 
thing's for sure at Eureka: Saturday 
mornings will never be the same 
again. □ 

Gail Brown is a retired principal for Chesterfield 
County Public Schools. She is a lifelong learner and 
educator, and her teaching and administrative ex- 
periences in grades K-12 have taught her that proj- 
ect-based environmental programs teach science 
standards, promote core values, and provide excit- 
ing educational experiences for the entire commu- 
nity. 




Parent Larry Newcomb donated quail eggs, incubators, and feed so that students 
could raise and release quail. 



Was the project a success? Just look at 
that smile. 



JANUARY 2009 



25 





Books, "Birds, ancj 
^omg 'Business tf\e 

Qld Wasfiioned ffDau. 



by Beth Hester 

"In all our encounters with business- 
es and shops, we now half expect to 
be treated not as customers, but as 
system trainees who haven't quite 
got the hang of it yet." 

- Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand 



e live in an online world 
where collectors can buy 
or sell virtually any object 
by way of numerous Internet auc- 
tions. This system may work out just 
fine for those whose passion is accu- 
mulating Pez dispensers from the 
1960s, or for the type of person who 
bids on misshapen potatoes resem- 
bling Elvis. Where, then, can the 
earnest collector of fine sporting 
books and art turn for sage advice 
and a civil transaction? 

Enter Carol Lueder of Fair Chase 
Books, Inc. Since 1982, Carol has been 
in the mail order book business, spe- 
cializing in new and antiquarian 
books with hunting, shooting and 
adventure themes. Located in Lex- 
ington, Virginia, and armed with a 
piquant sense of humor, Carol has 
the expertise to help collectors find 
volumes old and new. Need to re- 
place that early edition of Eastern Up- 
land Shooting that your puppy just de- 
molished? Dying for an autographed 
copy of Gunning the Eastern Uplands 1 . 
Carol will incline her ear to your plea 
and provide you with the kind of per- 
sonalized customer service that is ex- 
tremely rare in our self-service 
world. 

"I love what I do," she said. "A 
good book dealer should have a pas- 
sion and reverence for their books, 
and a willingness to develop a rap- 
port with their customers ... I find 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Carol Lueder operates Fair Chase out of Lexington but often exhibits at sportsman 
events throughout the region. 



that meeting potential clients is satis- 
fying to me, and reassuring to them. 
After all these years I still get a rush 
when I'm able to locate a scarce book 
for someone." 

Carol grew up in a Chicago sub- 
urb where she nurtured a passion for 
horses and trail riding. An interest in 
exploring the wildlife that she en- 
countered led to the purchase of field 
guides and books on duck hunting. 
Like most bibliophiles, one book led 



to another until, as Carol described it, 
"I had a vast quantity of books with- 
out much quality." Carol eventually 
established a career in advertising, 
but the book goddess wouldn't leave 
her alone, and opportunity came 
knocking twice: Carol purchased an 
estate of hunting books which al- 
lowed her to create her first Fair Chase 
catalog. Then, when a friendly com- 
petitor took early retirement, Carol 
was able to purchase his inventory 




and mailing list. She also began to do 
more traveling, taking Fair Chase 
Books to shows and side-by-side 
events across the country. 

Carol, who is an avid upland bird 
hunter and side-by-side aficionado, 
comes to Virginia by way of Wiscon- 
sin. She considered moving out west 
to be near her daughter Liz, who is a 
three-time, All American sporting 
clays competitor, but found that 
Cody, Wyoming, wasn't quite the 
place to run her business. Undaunt- 
ed, Carol opened up a map of the U.S. 
and highlighted all of the places 
where she had attended shows and 
side-by-side events. Then, Carol said, 
"I squinted, and put my finger in the 
middle of the highlighted areas ... 
and that's how I ended up in Lexing- 
ton, Virginia." 

We are fortunate to have a re- 
source like Carol who is an expert in 
her field, and she has some good ad- 
vice for readers of Virginia Wildlife 
who may be interested in starting 
their own collections of sporting 
books. 

"There is a lot of misinformation 
and fraudulent advertising on the In- 
ternet, so you have to be wary. There 
is also the perception that working 
with a specialist dealer is more ex- 
pensive that buying a volume from 
an online auction, but this isn't al- 
ways the case. Sure, inexperienced 
buyers and sellers may find what 
they think is a good buy at a church 
bazaar or a yard sale, and sometimes 
you may get a bargain, but will you 
really know about the end page that 
is missing, or the jam smudge on the 
corner? If something is defective, 
what kind of recourse will you have? 
How much time and trouble will it 
take to remedy the situation? Also, 
shipping charges are an important 
factor, and can easily jack up the price 
of a book." 

Carol says the best guidance is to 
develop a relationship with your 
book dealer. "Find a dealer with 
whom you feel comfortable. Investi- 
gate what your options are if the book 
you purchase has been wrongly de- 
scribed." 



JANUARY 2009 



27 



Carol Lueder \. 
Sightings 

In addition to her mail order business, 
Carol also has permanent displays in Vir- 
ginia at The Homestead Shooting Club in 
Hot Springs and Duke's Antique Center in 
Lexington. She also attends a number of 
events throughout the year. Her upcoming 
schedule in 2009, also available at her Web 
site www.fchase.net, is: 

January 2-4: 

East Coast Fine Arms Show, 
Hyatt Regency, Greenwich, CT. 
Carole, (914) 248-1000. 

April 24-26: 

Southern Side-by-Side Spring Classic, 
Deep River Sporting Clays, 
Sanford, NC. Call (919) 774-7080 for 
details or go to www.deepriver.net. 

May 15-17: 

North/South Side-by-Side Champion- 
ship, The Homestead, Hot Springs, VA. 

June 5-7: 

American Side-by-Side Classic. Haus- 
mann's Hidden Hollow, near Lawton, PA. 
Call (908) 719-9797 or (570) 934-2336 
for details or go to www.hhhsc.net. 

September 11-13: 

Game Conservancy Showcase. 
Hudson Farm, Stanhope, NJ. 

Additional resources for the collector: 
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 
contains many good references and links 
for anyone interested in doing more 
research on their own: 
www.carnegielibrary.org. 



r 



Over the years, Carol has dealt 
with all kinds of clients, from check- 
book participants who buy for in- 
vestment purposes, as well as those 
who are striving to build a collection 
of books on subjects close to their 
hearts such as' deer, turkey, or water- 
fowl. And, as Carol said, "If money is 
not an object, you can collect almost 
anything." 

Carol also has a simple tip to help 
you care for your collection of 
beloved volumes: "The types of 
paper and glue used in the manufac- 
ture of books have a lot to do with de- 
terioration, but there are some things 
you can do. Proper storage is impor- 
tant. Sunlight and humidity are a 
book's worst enemy. Take your pa- 
perbacks to the cabin, and leave the 
first editions at home!" 

What about her own book collec- 
tion? What books and authors res- 
onate? "Dangerous River, written by 
R.M. Patterson about his adventures 
in northwest Canada is a really won- 
derful book that gives you the oppor- 
tunity to immerse yourself in another 
time." Also, anything by Archibald 
Rutledge. "He was not just a hunter, 
but a great outdoorsman." 

Carol also recommends the 'Sis- 
ters of the Hunt' series put out by 
Stackpole Books, especially the vol- 
ume, Trails of Enchantment, which 
was first published in 1930 by Pauli- 
na Brandreth under the pseudonym 
Paul. It is considered by many to be 
one of the best books ever written 
about white-tailed deer and deer 




hunting. Finally, Carol has a fondness 
for many of the classic southern sto- 
rytellers, like Nash Buckingham and 
Havilah Babcock. 

In her incarnation as an upland 
bird hunter, Carol has close ties to the 
fair chase hunting ethic from which 
she derived the name of her business. 
When she decided to shoot seriously 
she wanted to learn from a hunter, 
rather than from a shooting instruc- 
tor. "I knew that learning from a 
hunter would take into account 
many ethical questions, with the em- 
phasis on the experience rather than 
the kill. A shooting instructor wants 
you to kill as many targets as possi- 
ble. A good hunter teaches you to kill 
efficiently. Both disciplines require 
accuracy, but I want to be accurate to 
minimize pain or wounding." Carol 
also enjoys the camaraderie of bird 
hunting and the enjoyment of nature 
as an end in itself. 

Carol learned to shoot with a 20 
gauge Citori Superlight O/U. As she 
became more confident, she pur- 
chased an Italian side-by-side, a Zan- 
otti, also in 20 bore. "I love shooting 
my Zanotti, she said. "It's light and 
accurate ... too tightly choked for 
sporting clays, but really gives you a 
thrill when you do reduce a clay to 
dust! It's really choked for pheasant 
and grouse in northern Wisconsin." 

For Carol, the love of hunting 
and shooting continues to grow, and 
her book business has evolved over 
the years into a full-time job. Carol 
said simply, "I participate in lots of 
events with my books and guns, and 
I love every minute spent reading 
and shooting." 

You may contact Carol Lueder at 
Fair Chase Books, Inc. by email or by 
phone: fchase@localnet.com, or 1- 
540-463-9189. Your request will be 
handled professionally and your 
purchase, meticulously packaged 
and shipped in a timely manner: a 
genuinely satisfying, old fashioned 
business encounter. □ 



Beth Hester is a writer and freelance photogra- 
pher. Wlien not hunched over her laptop, she 
pursues other passions: reading, shooting, 
kayaking, fishing, tying saltwater flies, and 
tending her herb garden. She lives in 
Portsmouth. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




JOk IMft 



2009 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

For current information and registration 
on workshops go to the "Upcoming 
Events" page on the Department's Web 
site at www.HuntFishVA.com or call 804- 
367-7800. 

January 3: Youth Waterfowl Hunting 
Workshop, Chance, Va. 

January 3: Firearms season closes for 
bear, deer and turkey. Late archery 
and late muzzleloading deer seasons 
close. 

January 16-18,: The Richmond Fishing 
Expo, Richmond Raceway Complex. 
For more information: vvww.ncboat- 
shows.com. 

January 31: Quail and squirrel sea- 
sons close 

February 14: Grouse season closes. 

February 28: Rabbit season closes. □ 




toJP 
by Beth Hester 

A Gentleman's Shooting Dog: The Evo- 
lution of the Legendary Ryman Setter 
by John D. Taylor 
Bonasa Press 
ISBN: 0-972594-9-3 
Hardcover, with gallery of photo- 
graphs 

"At the core of the DeCoverly setter is more 
than a century of selective breeding for nat- 
ural hunting instincts. These instincts are 
comprised of scenting ability, intelligence 
to learn how to handle birds, and pointing 
instinct ... we do not want a dog to stand 
there like a well-trained fool. His job is to set 
the bird up for the gun. Our job is to expose 
him to birds and to let him learn his craft. " 
-The DeCoverly Kennels 

JANUARY 2009 



Nothing is more boring than a 
sporting author who sticks to the 
subject. The books we remember are 
those that meander about within an 
author's emotional and intellectual 
landscape. No matter how technical 
the subject, the central themes are 
best explored obliquely, alongside 
odd detours and side roads. This 
book veers off ... in a good way. 

Author John D. Taylor has hunt- 
ed upland bird in the mid-Atlantic re- 
gion for over thirty years. Long a 
devotee of the Ryman English setter, 
he explores the evolution of this calm 
and intelligent breed, profiling the 
long line of dedicated individuals 
who have guided it for over a centu- 
ry. The dogs possess a finely-tuned 
and efficient combination of fluid 
athleticism and hunting instinct. In 
an age of shortcuts and murky ideals, 
Taylor describes the efforts of The De- 
Coverly Kennels. Avid about im- 
proving the health of the line, and 
maintaining high standards, they 
have lovingly cultivated the qualities 
that make the Ryman setter the per- 
fect partner at home, on the bench, 
and in the field. 

The back story to Taylor's search 
for the perfect gun dog is a more per- 
sonal narrative: his lifelong quest to 
discover deep down what it really 
means to be a hunter, an ethical 
sportsman, and a gentleman. These 
engaging detours merge with inves- 
tigations into the history of human 
beings as hunters, the dogs that even- 
tually became their allies, the roots of 
the English setter, and finally, what 
the future might hold for the gentle- 
man (and ... one might add here, 
gentlewoman) and his or her hunting 
dog. 

In the end, Taylor concludes that 
true sportsmanship in the field is a se- 
ries of discoveries: "The sum of thir- 
ty-three gunning seasons tells me the 
root of true gentlemanship afield is a 
strong sense of self-knowledge cou- 



pled with an equally strong and 
healthy respect for wildlife and the 
natural world. In the end, I believe it 
boils down to setting your own stan- 
dards and rising to them." 




Scott Hammond of West Point, Virginia, 
proudly displays ducks harvested with his 
grandfather on a wintry day last January. 
From the look on his face, Scott is not think- 
ing about his cold, wet feet. Congratula- 
tions, Scott. 



Subscribe to the NEW 



Virginia department of Came and Inland Fisheries 

Outdoor Report <^gv 

Managing and Conserving 



For a free email subscription, visit 
our Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 
Click on the Outdoor Report link and 
simply fill in the required information. 



29 




Wood Duck Stewards 

Thanks to agriculture and shop teacher 
Howard Hill and his students, our Hog Island 
Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has expe- 
rienced no shortage of wood ducks. For over 
ten years, Mr. Hill has incorporated the 
building of duck nesting boxes into his cur- 
riculum. 

Hill began this partnership with the 
DGIF at the request of WMA staff Donald 
Hayes. The annual tradition teaches King 
William High School students important con- 
struction skills while giving back to the com- 
munity and, specifically, supporting healthy 
wood duck populations. 

Several students in this class hunt deer, 
and a few enjoy duck hunting on the Mat- 
taponi River nearby. Many also are members 
of "Future Farmers of America. " 

When asked about their motivations for 
participating, one student quipped, "Build- 
ing and making things is fun and much bet- 
ter than just sitting in class." Another 
echoed that working with wood was much 
more enjoyable than book work. The kids 
even organize fund-raising efforts to pay for 
all materials involved. 



*5fS> 



fe_^a 




Find Game 



Find Came is an interactive Web- 
based map viewer designed by the Vir- 
ginia Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries to provide better and more 
current information about hunting land 
location and access in Virginia. Find Game 
allows users to map hunting areas by lo- 
cation and/or by game species, along with 
hunting quality by species, land manager 
contact information, site description, fa- 
cilities available, access information and 
associated Web links. To learn more 
about Find Game visit : 
www.HuntFishVA.com/huntiiiK/findgame. 



Commonwealth (/Virginia 

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 
LIFETIME 







Lifetime Licenses 

Open the door to a lifetime of enjoyment 

in the great outdoors of Virginia with a 

lifetime freshwater fishing, hunting 

or trout license! 

It's an investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

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lifetime_licenses/instructions.html 

or call 1- (866) 721-6911 




inn 



&* 



^3* 



<&>« 



tf»« 



-KMi/BlM- 



"It's got to be a woman, 
a man's tracks are a lot bigger." 



*************** SCH 3-DIGIT 229 



#VIR0002235105/8#60 
JOHN SMITH 

P.O. BOX 11104 

RICMOND VA 23230-1104 



MAY09 



Reading Your Label 

Is it time to renew? If you are uncertain when your subscription expires, 
look for the expiration date in the circled location on the sample above. 




Answers to 
the December 

2008 

"Byrd Nest" 

Crossword 

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VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



A 2>ucJ? V/asit&r S loutna/ 



fy 7ee CJarkson 



January ind, 200% 



January has fnaj/y arrived, usual /y the best wonth for a duck hunter- in Viraim'a. By this 
point ) /yjoSt of the Swa// coaterS to the north are /ocked So/id in ice and the birds haVe no 
choi<Ce but to head South- So toe coait, coe virainionS, in the /y?arSheS arid by the beaVer 
ponds -for the b'a /y/iarationS of ' waj Vards ', b/ack ducks, tea/, and pintaj/s. At /east that is the coay 
toe hope it happens. 

The Second day in January looked to be the /yjoSt pro/y?iSina of the Season to that point . /he 
tides coere perfect in a /yiarsh X hunt coith a friend. The forecast caj/ed for Strona coinds out of 
the north, a coind chi// in the teenS, and a chanCe ofsnoco ShocoerS- perfect duck hunt'ma coeather. 

So aS not to Loafce /yjy tcoo you no ch'/dren and coife, X a/yi aenera//y re/eaated to s/eepina on the 
Couch if X O/y? aettina Up eat/y to hunt. Xdon t wind. Xt Certainly beats the reperCUSSionS of coak- 
ina theyyj. 'That /y?ornina X cooke <3uick/y and auiet/y, poured a cup of Coffee, and f!//ed /y/y ther/y/oS . 
X coaS ha/fcooy docon the coa/k cohen X heard /yy coife Co// fro/yf the door. This Cou/dn t oe aood, X 
kneco. 

" X th'm/( X have the f/u ) She Said. X turned to head back ^he f/aa on the front of the hoUSe 
b/ocoina S'decoayS in the pro/yjiSed north coind. X coaSn t tcoo Steps into the hoUSe before she ran to 
the bathroo/y) and aot Sick- ~7h'S definitely coaS not aood. She esy?eraed a feco /yfinuteS later and /yiust 
ha/e SenSed the coorry on /y?y face . X O/y) not proud to ad/^it that X /yiiaht have been /y/ore Concerned 
a/>out /y*y duck hunt than the fact that She had the f/u. To syjy a^jaZe/yjent, She to/d we to ao afiead 
and ao. 

On/y a Short drive to /*iy friend S hoUSe, X coaS there in Just a feco /yjinuteS. But it coaS Zona 
enouah to Co/y/e to /yjy SenSeS. V/e coaS /oadina a deCoy baa into the boat cohen X arrived and told hisy) 
Xcoou/dn t be /yjakina the trip) that Xcoou/d rather /iVe to hunt another day. Xn a feco /yi'muteS XcoaS 
back ' &t ho/yje, tend ina to /yjy coife. V/e CaJ led later that /yjornina. The birds coere eVeryujhere. The best 
syiornina m the /yiarsh he had Seen in tcoo yearS . 

January turned out to be a pretty aood /yjonth- There coere days coith decent baaS and So/yje 
coithout. Most Cou/d have been better) but as /yjy brother says, " Xf wy aunt had a beard she coou/d 
be />y Unc/e . 

HnaJ/y it arrived ) the last day of the SeaSon. X hunted in the /yiornina and Satoouite a feco ducks 
but coaS in the corona Spot. "There coOS Sti// the afternoon. A buddy invited /yje to a syjarSh cohere he 
and So/yie friends had been coearina out the ducks a// SeaSon. They aenera//y /et it rest in the aftei — 
noon) but SinCe this coaS the /aSt day, coe coou/d hunt it. 

u)hen coe arrived around 3, coood ducks coere of ready f/yina eVerycohere . X had 
never Seen anythina like it- There coere hundreds , ZJppina this coay and that 
throughout the ScoO/yjp. 

X had a /y?odifed choke and nu/yjber 2 S } the corona /oads and choke for 
this type of Shoot ina. £ventua//y, hocoeVer y X had /yy tcoo coood ducJ(S . 
You Spent So/y>e /yioney on thoSe birds , /y?y buddy joked. 

The bia ducks didn t Shoco unti/ after S hoot ina ti/y>e. tOhen 
they did the sky coaS b/ack coith /yiaJ/ardS) tea/) coidaeon, and b/ack 
ducks, ^e/uctant/y) coe picked up the fast of the decoys ) Un- 
loaded the aunS for the /aSt ti/yfe of the SeaSon, and /yiade 
our /ast /y/arch throuah a /yiarsh back to the truck- l^hen 
coe qot there, tcoo other hunter S coere coaitina. &0e Stood 
and coatched as the birds circ/ed and dropped into the 
/yjarSh- l^e listened aS the hen /yjaj/ards quacked /oud/y on 
the coater, Sianajina that it coaS Safe. The Co/Is See/y/ed 
Stranae/y louder, /ike they, too, k* r >eco it coaS oVer. /-or ten /y?in- 
uteS no one Spoke) coejust coatched and A'stened unti/ the /aSt 
of the birds had At in the /yrarsh- 

* tOe//, XaueSS that S it, one of the auyS Said, fna//y. 

" Yep. XaueSS that s it. 






by Ken and Maria Perrotte 



Hearty Venison Pot Roast 



/| re you looking for a crowd pleasing wild game dish 
t\ that'll be even better when served as leftovers as it was 
the first time it was ladled from the pot? Look no further. 
Dig out those venison roasts some consider marginal in 
terms of table fare and get rolling on a "Hearty Venison Pot 
Roast." 

This is an easy, all-in-one dish— actually more of a 
cross between a pot roast and a stew. Add hot yeast rolls for 
a complete meal. 

This recipe can be doubled or halved. Exact measure- 
ments aren't necessary. Add more or less of any ingredient 
to suit your taste. Other favored vegetables may be substi- 
tuted. Cook the stew for a long time— until the meat is 
fork-tender. We bone out the entire deer we take and this is 
a meal tailor-made for those cuts of venison that aren't the 
best on the grill. The sirloins in the hind quarters and the 
front shoulder roasts are excellent for this dish. 

This is an excellent meal to prepare in advance. It often 
benefits from a day in the fridge and can be reheated in the 
microwave. It also freezes well. 

Because the timing isn't critical, it's easy to prepare 
while watching football playoffs or playing in the snow. We 
often cook pot roast on the weekend when the kids and 
grandkids are visiting. We make a huge batch using what- 
ever vegetables we have on hand and freeze leftovers for a 
quick meal or two during the week. We recently served this 
dish to 2 5 hungry men at a hunting camp. One young man 
remarked, as he ladled up a third serving, that he hadn't 
had such a good stew since his grandmother passed away. 

Hearty Venison Pot Roast 

3 or 4 pounds of boneless venison (sirloin or shoul- 
der roasts are ideal for this) 
Garlic pepper seasoning 

Vz large onion, sliced 

1 cup sliced mushrooms 

1 can (14.5 oz) whole, sliced, or diced tomatoes (if 
using fresh, add one 5.5oz can of tomato juice or 
V8) 

Vz teaspoon thyme 

1 teaspoon marjoram 

2 bay leaves 



Vi cup red wine (use a cheap cabernet/drink the 

good ones) 

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

2 cups beef broth ( reduced salt is good) 

3 or 4 medium potatoes, cut into iVz to 2 inch cubes 
1 Vz cups sliced or baby carrots 

1 bag frozen green beans (canned is OK) 

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

Cut roast into two or three-inch cubes, season lightly with 
garlic pepper, and place in large roasting pan. (Cooking 
spray makes clean up easier.) Slice onion and add to pan. 
Add mushrooms, tomatoes, seasonings, wine, Worcester- 
shire and broth. Cover pan with top or aluminum foil. 
Roast at 325 degrees for about 3 hours. Add potatoes and 
carrots, re-cover and continue cooking for about 45 min- 
utes. By now, the meat should be tender. Add green beans, 
re-cover and cook another half hour. Remove from oven 
and discard bay leaves. In a small glass, mix cornstarch 
with about 2 tablespoons cold water. While juices are still 
piping hot, move meat and vegetables to one side, tilting if 
necessary to expose liquids in pan. Stir cornstarch into hot 
liquids to thicken. Makes 8 to 10 servings. 

Wine Pairing: Try a cabernet franc, such as the 2005 and 
2006 offerings from Rockbridge Vineyard or Ingleside 
Vineyards. We've also served it with homemade cham- 
bourcin and a good vintage chambourcin or blend could 
match well. □ 

About our wild game cooking columnists : Maria and Ken Perrotte live in 
the far eastern edge of King George County, the gateway to the historic 
Northern Neck. Many a skeptic about eating wild game has become a con- 
vert after sharing a meal with them. The recipes they'll share in the coming 
months will reflect fish and game popular in and around Virginia. Occa- 
sionally, a guest professional chef may be spotlighted when Ken and Maria 
discover a unique or particularly creative way of preparing a dish. Color 
photos depicting the finished dish will also accompany most columris. 

Maria and Ken share a love for the outdoors-fishing, hunting or 
just enjoying crisp autumn mornings or sunny spring afternoons. Ken has 
also been the longtime outdoors columnist for the Fredericksburg Free 
Lance-Star newspaper. 

Many of the recipes will stress simple, flexible preparation. Dining 
on fish and game you've caught and are sharing with family and friends is 
one of the greatest rewards of time spent afield. They'll also be suggesting 
Virginia wine and, on occasion, ale pairings with various dishes. 

So, let's get cooking! 



32 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



i 



by Lynda Richardson 



Trout and About Fishing With Your Digital Camera 



A I othing is more beautiful, or en- 
IV joyable, than fishing for trout 
among snow-covered boulders in an 
ice rimmed stream lined with ever- 
greens! As you head for the trout 
streams this winter, be sure to take 
along your trusty digital camera. 

When planning your fishing ad- 
venture here are some images that 
you might want to keep in mind. 
First, you should always take a few 
shots of the angler with his or her 
catch. Normally this is accomplished 
by having the angler kneel or stand 
holding the fish "belly to the ground" 
with lure in mouth. Including the rod 
and reel in the shot will tell even 
more of the story. A few things to re- 
member: Make sure you have a nice 
background behind the subject; have 
the angler remove his sunglasses so 
you can see his eyes; and make sure 
you're close enough that you can ac- 
tually see the fish! Don't be afraid to 
shoot a head and shoulders shot in- 
stead of a full-length shot. Also, make 
sure any hat isn't covering or shading 
his eyes. I use a flash a lot outdoors to 
fill in shadows under hats. 

Capturing action can be chal- 
lenging, but it offers a chance to catch 
the angler's graceful (or not so grace- 
ful) cast, or a trout leaping out of the 
water. High shutter speeds (1 /500th 
and up) will help you stop the action. 
Think about photographing the re- 
lease of the fish or some images of it 
placed carefully on a stream bank. 
Here you need to select a background 
that makes the fish stand out. Dried 
or green grass, pebbles, and sand all 
make nice backgrounds. Consider 
taking macro shots of the fish's head, 
or eyes, or the spotted texture of its 
skin, or even a close-up of the lure in 
its mouth. But be quick about it! If 
you're not going to eat the fish for 
dinner, you want to get it back into 
the water, unharmed, as soon as pos- 
sible! 







■f 




^KW — , 







"None of my angling buddies was close enough 
to get a picture of me with this brown trout, so I 
pulled my Canon G9 digital camera out of my 
vest pocket and snapped a few as I was bringing 
it in. (Love that auto-focus!) You can probably 
tell that I had the flash on, which added the 
sparkle to the water. " l 2008 Lynda Richardson 

Why not take some photographs 
of the landscape you're enjoying? A 
picture of that stream flanked by ice 
will definitely remind you of how 
cold and beautiful it was. Some digi- 
tal cameras have a panoramic feature 
that is particularly fun for capturing 
scenery. Also, challenge yourself to 
use all of the focal lengths your cam- 



era offers. Wide angles, telephoto, 
and macro images will add interest to 
your collection of photographs. 

On your next trout fishing trip 
this winter, why not stick a digital 
camera in your vest pocket and tell 
the story of your trip in pictures? If 
the fishing is slow, at least you can 
catch some "keeper" photographs! C 

You are invited to submit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, 
P.O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send origi- 
nal slides, super high-quality prints, or 
high-res 360 dpi jpeg files on disk and 
include a self-addressed, stamped en- 
velope or other shipping method for 
return. Also, please include any perti- 
nent information regarding how and 
where you captured the image and 
what camera and settings you used, 
along with your phone number. We 
look forward to seeing and sharing 
your work with the readers of Virginia 
Wildlifel 



iMumiiifiMimm 




Congratulations go to Dan Boxberger of Wytheville for his photograph of some unusual 
visitors: red crossbills'. Red crossbills are a species of special concern here in Virginia (see 
p. 19). This time last year, Dan photographed as the birds chowed down for up to an hour 
at a time at his feeders. Great spotting, Dan! Thank you for sharing this wonderful find. 



JANUARY 2009 



33 





We treat this world of ours 

as though we had a spare 

in the trunk. " 

This was the message scripted on a 
slip of paper curled inside my last 
fortune cookie. Wallop! 

In considering how to approach 
the first in a series of editorials, my 
mind has circled back to this simple, 
15-word dictum over and over again. 
What strikes me about it, among 
other things, is its direct and univer- 
sal blame. Or perhaps, to be more 
magnanimous to the author, a uni- 
versal call to arms, a universal plea to 
take responsibility. 

The notion of individuals taking 
personal responsibility for their be- 
havior is creeping into all segments 
of public dialogue these days: from 
managing our finances to choosing 
healthier foods. One place it has yet 
to fully gain traction, however, is in 
our conversation about climate 
change. Feels like we are clinging to 
the idea that "governments" should 
lead the charge and that, somehow, 
"they" can fix the problems that ail 
our wobbly world. We're still tempt- 
ed to point fingers at everyone but 
ourselves. 

At a recent meeting to discuss 
how Virginians should plan for the 
effects of global warming upon 
wildlife and to better define both the 
issues and the people who should be 
coordinating with each other, I was 
reminded once again that genuine 
progress is taking place. The conver- 
sation about climate change is mov- 
ing forward in Virginia. But by habit, 
we government types often slip into 
familiar modes of doing business: 
trying to figure out how to effectively 
get our message out to the "interest- 
ed public" in order that we might 
chip away at consensus building. 



Yes, we in the business of wildlife 
management do need to be heard. 
But we need to deliver our message 
at a faster tempo, at a much higher 
volume. The challenge of planning 
for wildlife adaptations and migra- 
tions in the wake of rising tempera- 
tures and lost habitats would be 
daunting to consider under any cir- 
cumstances. That we face this chal- 
lenge with a narrower window of op- 
portunity to act can make the beat of 
consensus building feel a tad too 
slow. 

So while we hook arms with old 
friends — hunters, biologists, GIS 
techies, trout fishermen, school 
teachers, and others — in the choir 
loft, we must quickly invite new 
friends to join us. Surely, it's going to 
take all the friends we've got. 

My instincts: We will succeed 
only if we stop framing the conversa- 
tion in terms of "they" and "them." 
Like many other things facing Amer- 
icans right now, the time has come to 
roll up our sleeves, to search for every 
square inch of common ground be- 
tween us, and to accept the fact that 
we are inextricably connected — 
whether we choose to be or not — and 
that other life forms are hanging 
upon the decisions we make today. 

Finding daily ways to reduce 
your carbon footprint is easy: Just ask 
a kid if you're not sure where to start. 
Taking a walk outside and popping 
the trunk (on your hybrid) to confirm 
that there's no "spare" planet in- 
side — now that's the tough part. □ 

Editor's Note: 

And so begins a new year of stories about Vir- 
ginia's wildlife and wild places. Occasionally, 
you will find a postscript here— when space al- 
lows and as issues warrant. Climate change is 
one of those issues. It's an uncomfortable topic 
that we must somehow find a way to get com- 
fortable discussing. Here, the sentiments ex- 
pressed are mine alone. Your comments are wel- 
come at sally.mills@dgif.virginia.gov. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Outdoor Catalc 




2008 

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Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 



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The knife features a red-tailed hawk engraving, augmented by a natural 
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Item # VW-408 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 




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Customized by Buck Knives, this classic model 1 10 folding knife is 8 1/2" 
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To Order visit the Department's Web site at: 

www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 




Virginia 

Nongame 

Wildlife Program 

Nongame Tax 
Checkoff Fund 

Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of 
Virginia's Nongame Wildlife 
Program by helping to support essential 
research and management of Virginia's 
native birds, fish and other nongame 
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If you are due a tax refund from the 
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contribute to the Virginia Nongame 
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checkoff, on the Virginia State Income 
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If you would like to make a cash do- 
nation directly to the Virginia Nongame 
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to Virginia Nongame Program, 4010 W. 
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For Virginia Wildlife subscription calls onlv 1-800-710-9369 

Twelve issues for $12.95 

All other calls to (804) 367-1000 

Visit our Web Site at www.dgif.virginia.gov 




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The Gift That Will Be Enjoyed 

All Year Long 



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